The U.K.’s exit from the European Union has sparked a battle over fishing in waters British and EU trawlers have shared for four decades.

On assignment for Bloomberg I spent a long day on the East Yorkshire coast in Bridlington photographing the crab and lobster fishermen as they set out to check their pots and then returning with their catch.

With the weather looking favourable after a few days of strong northerly winds conditions were set and some of the boats decided to head out.

Between 3am and 6am is when the day begins on the harbour side as the crews arrive and after taking bait on board and on a dropping tide they slip out of the harbour in darkness and head out to sea.

Over forty boats at Bridlington are crewed by approximately a hundred men with another 250 people in direct employment from the activities of the harbour. Between them they have over 30,000 pots and the shellfish catch alone is estimated to be worth £6million making Bridlington by volume and value the largest shellfish port in Europe. 

Shellfish processing is mainly carried out abroad and Bridlington’s main role is the landing and packing of shellfish for export. It is home to three landing organisations: Coastal Shellfish Limited, Bridlington Shellfish Company Limited and Independent Shellfish Cooperative Limited.

All three are based at the end of Bridlington’s South Pier and between them, they land and distribute the bulk of the UK’s shellfish.

As the tide rolls back the boats finally make their way back home. Within a few minutes it is unloaded and in most cases packed and loaded onto vans or lorries for the onward journey to wholesalers or to be processed.

Boats are tied up and the crews make their way home. Ready to do it all again the next day.

With thanks to the fisherman and Harbour master of Bridlington Harbour for their assistance with getting these pictures. Fair winds.

Images (c) Ian Forsyth / Bloomberg

See more of my work in my galleries & blog at Room 2850

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